Today is Veterans Day. Our community celebrates tomorrow, Monday, with a memorial service but the intention remains the same: to thank veterans who served our country.
This year, our community is focusing on Viet Nam vets. Unlike other soldiers in other wars, survivors of Viet Nam were not feted and celebrated on their return. Sometimes the welcome home they received was no welcome at all.
Thankfully, opinions have changed. On our island, around a flagpole, there are bricks commemorating military people who died in different wars. Our local newspaper found the Viet Nam names and offered photos of as many as they could find. Most look like kids. Not surprising since many were barely out of high school. It's heartrending to think they lost their lives so young. It's heartrending to read about their families still grieving.
And while we take time to remember those who died, let's also remember those who suffered and who still suffer. Inadequate medical care and homelessness of surviving veterans should be eradicated. Mental help for those who need it should be provided. Our veterans, men and women who served and fought for our country, shouldn't have to wade through layers of red tape and deal with inadequate hospitals and bureaucratic indifference. We should demand our country live up to its promises.
Wouldn't that be the best way to celebrate Veterans Day?